The Supreme Court v. Patent Absurdity

Wall St. Journal:  “No, you shouldn’t be able to patent a ‘method of speed dating.’  The Supreme Court last week became Exhibit A for the case that technological change is fast outpacing the ability of government to deal with it. . . . During the oral argument in last week’s case, Bilski and Warsaw v. Kappos, it became clear that the justices had strong views about what intellectual property should not get special protection.  They signalled that they will invalidate a category of patents that have been granted for over a decade.  But they also admitted they had little idea about what kinds of innovation should be protected in an information age.”

Are Business-Method Patents on Life Support?

Wall St. Journal:  “To us, there’s something oddly comforting when the Supreme Court justices all appear on the same page in a case; when Justice Scalia’s comments echo Justice Breyer’s, which, in turn, echo Chief Justice Roberts’s.  If all these big brains see a case the same way, we tend to think, they must really be right.  Judging from the tenor of the arguments on Monday, this seems to be the way things are likely to play out in In Re Bilski, one of the larger cases of the term.”

New Chief of Patent Office Takes Aim at a Massive Backlog

Wall St. Journal:  “The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s new chief has kicked off an effort to overhaul the patent-application process, seeking to fix the backlogged and financially strapped agency and help the Obama administration earn some good will with the business community.  On Thursday, Director David Kappos scrapped controversial rules that would have limited the number of patent claims companies could file and the information they could submit to back up claims. The rules were proposed during the Bush administration in a bid to accelerate the patent process, but many in the business community believed the opposite would result.”

Software Patents: A Personal Story – Big Co Threatens Start-up

A real-life story about how a big company with a lot of money threatened a small start-up company with patent infringement.

The other day, I received a phone call from a friend who has been building a kick-ass startup. That friend had been contacted by a much larger competitor with what amounted to an ultimatum: shut down and come work for us, or we’ll crush you with a patent infringement suit. My friend’s startup didn’t cave in–in fact, my friend even went through the trouble of sharing a pile of incontrovertible prior art with the competitor. The competitor was unimpressed, and my friend’s startup is now facing a potentially ruinous lawsuit.

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